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3 



JACOB * * 
BOEHME 

HE TEUTONIC PHILOSOPHER 



W. P. SWAINSON 



» 



London 
WILLIAM RIDER & SON, LTD. 

8-11 Paternoster Row, E.C $ 



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JACOB BOEHME 



JACOB BOEHME 

THE TEUTONIC PHILOSOPHER 



BY 

W. P. SWAINSON 



LONDON 

WILLIAM RIDER & SON, LTD 

8-11 PATERNOSTER ROW, E.C. 

1921 







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CONTENTS 






Early Life 


CHAPTER I 

■ • • 

CHAPTER II 


. » 


PAGE 
7 


Later Life 


CHAPTER III 


* * 


13 


The Man 






17 



CHAPTER IV 
Byss and Abyss 20 

CHAPTER V 
The Three Principles . . .24 

CHAPTER VI 

The Seven Qualities . . . .27 

5 



sss 



6 CONTENTS 

CHAPTER VII 
The Created Universe . . .32 



CHAPTER IX 

Adam's Fall 



CHAPTER XII 

Conclusion 



TAGE 



CHAPTER VIII 
Fall of Lucifer . . • .35 



. 40 



CHAPTER X 
Adam-Eve 45 

CHAPTER XI 
Atonement and Redemption . . 50 



• • 



. 56 



JACOB BOEHME 

THE TEUTONIC PHILOSOPHER 

CHAPTER I 

EARLY LIFE 

Search where we will through the whole range 
of mysticism, it is hard to find a deeper or 
more interior mystic than the poor, unlettered 
shoemaker of Goerlitz, Jacob Boehme. Un- 
learned, as this world understands learning, he 
yet penetrated to the core of things, touching 
depths that the profoundest philosophers and 
the keenest thinkers have essayed in vain to 
reach. Where the most subtle metaphysicians 
have failed in their search for truth, this poor 
shoemaker, through his humble childlike faith, 
succeeded in discovering the ground of all 
things. Not only was he a great mystic, but 
he was also a spiritual occultist. 

He was born at the village of Alt-Seidenberg, 
near Goerlitz, in Saxony, in the j^ear 1575. 

7 



8 JACOB BOEHME 

His parents were simple but respectable 
peasants. As a boy Boehme spent much of his 
time alone, tending the cattle. At an early 
age he developed, the visionary faculty, and was 
able to see in the spirit world. He went to 
school, learned to read and write, and, on leav- 
ing, was apprenticed to a shoemaker. 

One day, while his master and mistress were 
out, a stranger entered the shop, bought a pair 
of boots, for which he paid an excessive price, 
and departed. On reaching the street he 
called out, " Jacob, come hither." The lad, 
greatly surprised to find that the man knew his 
name, went outside, whereupon the stranger 
fixed a kind yet penetrating glance upon him, 
and said, " Jacob, thou art yet but little, but 
the time will come when thou shalt be great 
and become another man, and the world shall 
marvel at thee. Therefore be pious, fear God, 
and reverence His Word ; especially read 
diligently the Holy Scriptures, where thou wilt 
find comfort and instruction, for thou must 
endure much misery and poverty, and suffer 
persecution. But be courageous and persevere, 
for God loves and is gracious unto thee." The 
stranger then clasped his hand, looked kindly 
at him, and disappeared. He was probably one 
of those highly evolved beings called Adepts, 



EARLY LIFE 9 

or Masters, who watch over and help all who 
earnestly and truly endeavour to serve God, 
follow in the footsteps of the Christ, and desire 
to be of use and. service to their fellow-men. 
Similar instances are to be found in the lives 
of other mystics. 

The interview made a deep and lasting 
impression on Jacob. He became more 
serious and meditative, more childlike and 
humble. He admonished his fellow-workmen, 
with the result that his master dismissed him, 
whereupon he became a travelling journey- 
man. 

During this period Boehme was greatly 
troubled with doubts. He was conscious of his 
own unworthiness, and fell into a profound and 
deep melancholy. The mystery of life and the 
sin and misery he saw on all sides almost over- 
whelmed him. He had a keener sense of sin, 
together with that tumult of conflicting desires 
and reactionary evil, that so often precedes the 
outburst of light. 

At length his first period of illumination took 
place. It lasted for seven days in succession. 
During the whole of that time his higher or 
more extended consciousness was active, and 
his range of vision correspondingly widened. 
His external or bodily faculties meanwhile 



10 JACOB BOEHME 

continued in their normal condition. What 
some call the inner body being consciously 
awake, or active, he was naturally aware of 
what was taking place on the plane corre- 
sponding to it. 

In 1594 he married a tradesman's daughter, 
by whom he had four sons. 

In 1600, at the age of twenty-five, a second 
illumination was vouchsafed to Jacob. One 
day, while walking in the fields, he fell into a 
deep and inward ecstasy, so that he could 
look into the inmost principles and deepest 
foundations of things, gazing, as it were, into 
their very heart. The mystery of creation was 
opened to him suddenly, and he learned the 
ground of all things. He writes : "In one 
quarter of an hour I saw and knew more than 
if I had been many years together at a univer- 
sity, at which I did exceedingly admire, and I 
knew not how it happened to me ; and there- 
upon I turned my heart to praise God for it. 
For I saw and knew the Being of all beings, the 
Byss and Abyss, also the birth or eternal genera- 
tion of the Holy Trinity ; the descent and 
original of this world, and of all creatures, 
through the divine wisdom. I knew and saw 
in myself all the three worlds, namely the 
divine, angelical, and paradisiacal world ; 



EARLY LIFE 11 

and then the dark world, being the original 
of nature to fire ; and then, thirdly, the external 
and visible world, being a procreation, or ex- 
ternal birth ; or as a substance expressed or 
spoken forth from both the internal and 
spiritual worlds ; and I saw and knew the whole 
being in the evil and in the good, and the 
mutual original and existence of each of them. 
... I saw it (as in a great deep) in the 
internal, for I had a thorough view of the 
universe, as in a Chaos, wherein all things are 
couched and wrapped up, but it was impossible 
for me to explicate and unfold the same." 
He thanked God in silence for the vision, but 
told no one, continued his shoemaking, and 
attended to his family duties. 

Ten years later his third illumination took 
place. That which had previously seemed 
chaotic and fragmentary now formed into a 
coherent whole. His scattered intuitions were 
co-ordinated. Fearing lest he should forget 
what he had seen he wrote it down in order 
to preserve it, though not for publication. 
This was the origin of the Aurora, his first 
work, which he compiled as a help to his 
memory. He began writing in 1612, and 
continued doing so till his death in 1624, 
composing some thirty books in all. They are 



12 JACOB BOEHME 

full of the deepest mysteries regarding God, 
Christ, heaven and hell, and the secrets of 
nature. All he did was for God's glory and 
the redemption of mankind, nothing for 
personal gain. 



CHAPTER II 

LATER LIFE 

A nobleman, Carl von Endern, happening to 
see the Aurora, was so impressed with its 
unique value that he had several copies made. 
By accident one of them fell into the hands 
of Gregory Richter, the Lutheran pastor of 
Goerlitz, a narrow-minded bigot lacking spirit- 
ual insight. He was so exasperated at the 
idea of a poor shoemaker knowing more of 
God's dealings than himself, an ordained 
priest, that henceforth he became Boehme's 
bitterest enemy. He publicly denounced him 
as a most dangerous heretic, insulted him in 
every possible way, and threatened to have 
him imprisoned. Boehme was brought before 
the City Council, who ordered him to leave the 
town forthwith. The following day they 
rescinded the order but confiscated the manu- 
script of his Aurora, at the same time telling 
him to stick to his last and write no more 
books. 

13 



14 JACOB BOEHME 

This action of the Council, however, had the 
opposite effect to that which they intended, for 
it brought Boehme's writings to the notice of 
many who would otherwise have never heard 
of them. He thus became known to many 
who were better educated than himself, from 
whom he afterwards derived considerable 
assistance in expressing his thoughts. 

For seven years Boehme submitted patiently 
to the decree of the Council, and kept silence. 
At length the Divine Spirit could no longer be 
restrained, and he began to write again. He 
had more leisure than formerly, his business 
having fallen off, but his friends supplied his 
needs. His books attracted the attention of 
those interior souls who were able to appreciate 
them, and he found followers among both rich 
and poor. 

Among his many works were The Three 
Principles, The Threefold Life of Man, Signatura 
Rerum, Mysterium Magnum, Forty Questions, 
The Clavis, The Incarnation of Christ, Dialogue 
Between an Enlightened and an Unenlightened 
Soul, and The Way to Christ. 

About a year before his death his old enemy, 
Gregory Richter, renewed his persecutions with 
redoubled fury, in consequence of the publica- 
tion of The Way to Christ. This time Boehme 



LATER LIFE 15 

did not remain so quiet, but wrote a defence to 
Richter's accusations. The City Council, afraid 
of the blustering priest, requested Boehme to 
leave the town lest he might suffer the fate of 
other so-called heretics and be burnt alive. 
He left Goerlitz in disguise, and went to 
Dresden, where he found a refuge and was 
greatly honoured. He had not been there 
long when, at his own request, he was carried 
back to Goerlitz. He told his friends that in 
three days' time he would pass away. This 
was on a Friday. On the following Sunday, 
November 21st, 1624, he called his son Tobias 
to his bedside, and asked him if he heard the 
beautiful music, requesting him at the same 
time to open the door in order that it might 
be heard more plainly. At length, after giving 
his wife certain instructions about his books, 
and telling her that she would not long survive 
him, as indeed she did not, he bade farewell 
to his family and exclaimed with a smile, 
" Now I go hence into Paradise." Shortly 
after he turned round, gave a deep sigh, and 
passed into the other world. 

Richter, the Lutheran pastor, had died 
recently, but his successor demurred to giving 
Boehme's body a decent burial. The Catholic 
Count, Hannibal von Drohna, however, arrived 



16 JACOB BOEHME 

on the scene, and insisted upon its being 
solemnly interred. 

Some of Boehme's friends had a cross placed 
over his grave, on which certain occult symbols 
were carved, among others the Hebrew letters 

nwr- 



CHAPTER III 

THE MAN 

In personal appearance Boehme was the 
reverse of striking. He was short of stature, 
with a low forehead, a rather aquiline nose, 
and a short, scanty beard, but he had marvel- 
lously luminous blue eyes, which redeemed his 
otherwise plain features. His voice was feeble, 
besides which he was somewhat deficient in 
strength, though he does not appear to have 
suffered from ill-health during his life. He was 
mild in speech, unassuming in conversation, 
modest, patient, and gentle. His faith was 
invincible, and he was fervently spiritual, 
although he was not what the world would 
call intellectual. His interior knowledge was 
too profound for the ordinary understanding. 
He was one of the few who possessed Divine 
consciousness. 

The most remarkable trait in his character 
was his extreme humility. He realised, in its 
fullest sense, that he was a sinner, and took no 
2 17 



18 JACOB BOEHME 

credit for his spiritual knowledge. He main- 
tained that all he wrote was " not in the flesh, 
but in the spirit, in the impulse and motion 
of God. It is not so to be understood that my 
reason is greater or higher than that of all 
other men living, but I am the Lord's twig or 
branch, and am a very mean and little spark 
of His ; He may set me where He pleaseth. 
I cannot hinder Him in that ... if the spirit 
were withdrawn from me, then I could neither 
know nor understand my own writings." 

He possessed remarkable occult powers, 
being not only able to look into the past, but 
also to read the future. He sometimes told 
people all about their past life. He was 
conversant with the import behind each name, 
irrespective of the external language, revealing 
the essential character of the person, or 
hidden nature of the animal or plant. Their 
outer forms expressed to Boehme their inner 
qualities, being the outward and visible 
symbols of the inward essence or reality. 
His consciousness being active on the plane 
where verbal expression is transcended, he was 
able at times to understand and speak in the 
various earthly dialects, like the Apostles on 
the day of Pentecost. He termed this uni- 
versal speech the language of nature. 



THE MAN 19 

In later times Boehme has numbered among 
his admirers some of the most highly educated 
men, including J. G. Gichtel, William Law, the 
English mystic, and Louis Claude de Saint 
Martin, the unknown philosopher. 



CHAPTER IV 

BYSS AND ABYSS 

Unlike many other seers, Boehme, instead of 
giving us details concerning the invisible 
world, deals rather with the inmost principles 
of things, going, as it were, direct to their 
ground or centre. The universe is the outcome 
and development of One Grand Thought. All 
things are governed by one central law, and 
all planes of existence are related. That which 
is true upon one plane is equally true upon 
all others, in keeping with the law of corre- 
spondences. To fully understand the one 
universal principle at work at the core of 
every phase and aspect of evolution would be 
to penetrate the secret of creation. It is the 
key to all knowledge, and was called the 
Philosopher's Stone by the old alchemists. 
This was the work upon which the hermetic 
philosophers and alchemists were engaged. 
They purposely chose their vague and, to us, 

strange terms in order to express very broad 

20 



BYSS AND ABYSS 21 

generalisations and abstractions, which applied 
to every branch of science on the various planes — 
celestial, spiritual, psychological, intellectual, 
and also physical — astronomical, chemical, 
etc. Boehme, who was essentially a spiritual 
alchemist, makes use of the old alchemical 
terminology in the exposition of his system of 
philosophy. 

We will start at the centre of things, taking 
first Boehme' s concept of what, for want of a 
better word, we call God. We are, however, 
met at the threshold with a difficulty, for, in 
speaking of the Supreme, we are compelled to 
use finite, not to say erroneous, terms to express 
the Infinite. We speak of God's operations as 
though they had a beginning in time, whereas 
they have neither beginning nor ending. The 
finite cannot grasp the Infinite, any more than 
the measureless can be measured or the 
end of numbers reached. Only the Eternal 
can realise the Eternal. Boehme, like others, 
laboured under this difficulty, hence his 
religious system of philosophy is largely 
allegorical and symbolical. This is unavoid- 
able, and must be borne in mind throughout the 
study of his writings. 

Boehme calls that which underlies all things 
the Abyss. This Abyss contains within Itself 



22 JACOB BOEHME 

everything and nothing — that is, everything 
potentially, but nothing manifestly ; some- 
what as an acorn contains, potentially, a forest 
of oak trees. Hidden, as it were, within this 
Abyss is an eternal, bottomless, uncreated 
Will, or Byss. This Will, or Byss, ever desires 
to become manifest — " It willeth to be some- 
what." This is only possible in a state of 
duality or differentiation, for without contrast 
there could only be eternal stillness, nothing 
could ever be perceived. It would be some- 
thing like a great eye, which could see nothing 
because there would be no object, apart from 
itself, to be seen. 

" God," says Boehme, "is in Himself the 
Abyss without any Will at all. . . . He maketh 
Himself a Ground or Byss." This Will, or 
Byss, fashions what is called a Mirror, which 
reflects all things, everything existing already 
in a latent or hidden state in the Abyss. It 
thereby makes them visible or manifest. The 
Supreme thus, as it were, perceives all things in 
Himself. The dual principle is latent in Him. 
He is both Byss and Abyss. He could not 
otherwise know Himself. The manifest is 
equally eternal with the unmanifest, there 
never having been a period without manifesta- 
tion. Boehme terms this Mirror the Eternal 



BYSS AND ABYSS 23 

Wisdom, the Eternal Idea, or the Virgin 
Sophia. It is the Infinite Mother, the Will 
being the Infinite Father. 

From this Duality proceeds a Trinity. The 
Father-Mother begets the Son, in Whom His- 
Her energies are concentrated or gathered up. 
These are again diffused by the Holy Spirit, 
somewhat as the Sun gathers up the light and 
heat of the universe and diffuses them again 
by means of its rays. 

Manifestation is brought about by what 
Boehme calls Eternal Nature. When the Will, 
or the Father, beholds Himself and his wonders 
reflected in the Eternal Idea or Virgin Sophia, 
the Mother, He desires that they shall not 
merely remain passive or hidden, but become 
active and manifest. The Mother also yearns 
for the manifestion of the marvels latent in 
Her. Through the union of the Will and the 
Wisdom, the Father and the Mother, the 
generation of all things takes place, the un- 
manifest becomes manifest, the latent becomes 
active. 



CHAPTER V 

THE THREE PRINCIPLES 

Underlying all Boehme's teachings are what 
he calls the Three Principles. The Supreme 
is a Unity of two apparently contradictory 
elements, which he terms Fire and Light or 
Wrath and Mercy — in other words, Law and 
Love. These two contrasting principles exist 
in all created things. From the union of 
these two elements proceeds a third, which 
manifests itself in our external or temporary 
nature, and which partakes of the qualities 
of the other two. What Boehme calls the 
Fire, or Dark Principle in God, is really a 
latent or unmanifest condition forming, as it 
were, a ground upon which the Light or Love 
Principle can act. The Dark Principle only 
becomes evil when opened — that is, roused to 
activity — before it is transmuted by the Light 
or Love Principle. The Supreme does not will 
that it should be opened, but He allows it 
to become active if man wills it should, other- 
wise man could never become self-conscious. 

24 



THE THREE PRINCIPLES 25 

Apart from relative existence there can be no 
such thing as consciousness, consciousness being 
the perception of relations. In order to be 
conscious there must be something of which we 
are conscious, and this something must differ 
from that which it is not— in other words, it 
must form a contrast or apparent opposite. 
When man gives way to the Dark Principle he is 
in what Boehme calls " the false imagination," 
consequently God can only speak to him in 
fire or wrath terms, the terms man has made 
for himself, and this exists as long as man 
remains in " the false imagination." He mis- 
understands God, and looks upon Him as full 
of wrath and vengeance, instead of love, mercy, 
and gentleness. 

These two apparently antagonistic or anti- 
pathetic principles are interchangeably spoken 
of as Brahma the Creator and Siva the Des- 
troyer, as Ormuzd and Ahriman, God and 
Devil, Good and Evil, representing respectively 
the Powers of Light and Darkness. Vishnu, 
the Preserver in the Indian Trinity, holds the 
balance between them, and forms a third 
principle, corresponding to the concise know- 
ledge, or wisdom gained through experience, 
resulting from eating of the tree of knowledge 
of good and evil, spoken of in the Hebrew 



26 JACOB BOEHME 

Scriptures. Vishnu, the Preserver, represents 
Truth or Wisdom. By reconciling or uniting 
law and love He restores the original Trinity, 
for, though all else in the universe undergoes 
constant change, Truth is always the same- 
permanent, durable, and unalterable. If man 
follows truth, he transmutes evil into good 
and endures, but if he departs from truth he 
becomes the slave of Siva and is destroyed. 

On every plane manifestation results from the 
interaction of two seemingly antagonistic, yet 
really complementary, forces or principles — 
positive and negative, active and passive, mascu- 
line and feminine, and their equilibrium. The 
Will and Wisdom, Theo-Sophia, or Father and 
Mother of the Divine Creative Powers, become 
in nature force and space, which beget motion, 
resulting, on the physical plane, in positive 
and negative charges of electricity in the ether, 
called electrons. Combinations of electrons 
constitute the atom, combinations of atoms 
produce chemical entities, etc., from which our 
material universe arises. Everywhere through- 
out nature there is an endless hierarchy of 
unities subdividing into other unities. 

Polarity, or Sex, action and reaction, is the 
great law which underlies all manifestation. It 
is the creative power of the universe. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE SEVEN QUALITIES 

Besides the Three Principles, or rather 
contained within them, are what Boehme calls 
the Seven Qualities of Eternal Nature. These 
are the seven properties or forces through 
which the Divine energy operates. They 
correspond in a general way, though not 
specifically, to the seven Taltwas of Indian 
philosophy and the seven lower Sephiroth of 
the Kabalah. 

Although each quality has its own specific 
essence, they yet form one harmonious whole, 
each being dependent on, or existing within 
the other six. They work simultaneously, like 
our different senses, and permeate all things 
from the highest to the lowest. 

The first quality is that of " Contraction." 
It is the desire drawing all towards itself, and 
is what Boehme terms " astringent" — that is, 
harsh, cold and sharp in its nature. It is a 
kind of magnetic attraction, the congealing of 

27 



28 JACOB BOEHME 

the Eternal No-thing into Some-thing, and may 
be spoken of as Desire. 

The second quality is that of " Friction." 
This is an expansive force thus creating a dual 
action, and so causing differentiation. Boehme 
compares it to gall or bitterness. It is the 
desire going forth into multiplicity, motion 
and perception, and may be termed Motion. 

The third quality is that of " Sensibility." 
It is brought into existence by the action and 
reaction of the first and second qualities. 
Unable to separate from each other they 
produce a rotary motion which Boehme speaks 
of as " anguish," " wandering," " the wheel of 
life." This " anguish," he says, " amasses 
itself into an Essence." It is also called the 
fiery strength and may be expressed as Sensa- 
tion. 

These three qualities, or properties, form the 
first or dark ternary, consisting of the three fire 
principles. It is inharmonious by itself. 

The first principle of motion in nature is 
attraction, the second being repulsion, while 
the third principle is circulation, resulting from 
the conflict of the two former. All nature, 
from the greatest to the least, is derived from 
the operation of this threefold source. When 
either attraction or repulsion is predominant 



THE SEVEN QUALITIES 29 

the circulation forms an ellipse, but when they 
are in equilibrium or balance, a circle is pro- 
duced. A body is, as it were, circumscribed 
in space — that is, it is under limitations. This 
is what Boehme speaks of as " anguish." 
These three first properties correspond to the 
mutually antagonistic elemental forces of 
inorganic nature. 

The fourth quality is called the " Lightning 
flash," or " Fire." It is brought about by the 
entrance of the Spirit, which diffuses a mild 
light throughout, and transforms the dark 
principle, thus ending the strife between the 
opposing forces. To use Boehme's expression, 
" the fire in its devouring changes the grossness 
of the first amassed Essence." The flash, 
or solving fire of the Word, impresses the 
Divine quality into the life. This principle is 
the central and really dominant one, the first 
three being merely abstract movements. It 
is the origin of life, and is a fire of anger in 
relation to the first three, but a love fire in 
relation to the last three principles. It is 
really Consciousness, or Life. 

The next three qualities constitute the 
bright ternary, consisting of the three light 
principles. 

The fifth quality is Love, or " Light." 



30 JACOB BOEHME 

Boehme speaks of it as " the true love fire." 
The oil of love binds and loosens, builds up 
and harmonises the principles to joy and 
perfection. In brief, it is Love. 

The sixth is intelligible or vital sound. It is 
the principle of "Audibility." The powers 
or qualities concentrated or drawn together in 
the fifth property now become intelligent life, 
distinct and audible. It is the expression or 
manifestation of life — in other words Intelli- 
gence. 

The seventh quality is the last. The pre- 
vious six are gathered up into one harmonious 
whole, the ideal loveliness or supreme bliss. 
Boehme speaks of it as " Essential Wisdom," 
" God's Corporeity," or the " Thing Itself." 
It is His aspect of Reality, the Kingdom of 
Divine Glory, the uncreated heaven, or Wisdom. 

Everything, according to Boehme, is brought 
about through the agency of these seven 
natural properties. When complete in expres- 
sion, nature is everywhere found to be 
septenary. 

Summarised, the seven qualities act as 
follows : The attractive and repulsive forces, 
by their interaction, produce the third property 
or rotary motion. These three, or the dark 
ternary, in their eternal action, constitute 



THE SEVEN QUALITIES 31 

the basis of all life, or the first degree of active 
life of every creature, whether angel, spirit, 
man, animal, plant, or mineral. The dark 
ternary, with its tremendous forces, is essential, 
the alternative being an eternal death. When 
the Eternal, or Ain Soph of the Kabalah, sends 
forth the Verbum Fiat, or the Son, which is 
a solving fire, and corresponds to the fourth 
quality, the three first qualities, or dark ternary, 
are transmuted in their essence and become 
respectively the Light, the Joy, and the Divi- 
nity of things, the light ternary. This is the 
Magnum Opus, or Great Work that must like- 
wise be performed in each of us individually, 
if we are to re-attain our original nature, and 
the great transmutation which Christ Jesus 
accomplished in His Own Person. 



CHAPTER VII 

THE CREATED UNIVERSE 

Passing from the uncreated heaven, or glory 
of God, we come to the created universe. 
Creation implies that God produces something, 
as it were, outside or apart from Himself. 
It also implies that this something has to be 
developed from incompleteness to completeness 
— that is, evolved gradually, as distinguished 
from the uncreated heaven, which is perfect 
and complete in itself, being, so to speak, part 
and parcel of God Himself. 

This giving forth from Himself does not 
impoverish but rather enriches God, like a 
man who imparts his thoughts to others by 
means of books does not lose, but rather gains 
by so doing. On the other hand, there was no 
necessity for God to create to complete His 
own perfection. It was a free resolve on His 
part "to have children in His own likeness " ; 
an act of pure love without any compulsion. 

The Supreme does not create out of nothing. 

32 



THE CREATED UNIVERSE 33 

Ex nihilo nihil fit — out of nothing nothing 
comes. He produces from His Own eternal 
nature and eternal wisdom, wherein all things 
dwell in a latent condition, all contrasts exist 
in a hidden or non-manifest state. When the 
Verbum Fiat, or Spoken Word, goes forth, 
these hidden principles — the qualities, forms, 
colours, powers, etc. — arise in a manifestation 
of glorious celestial orders in a universe of 
angelic beings whose life is light, joy, and peace. 
Here all things are in that state which Boehme 
speaks of as "in temperature": that is, in 
perfect proportion or analogy — in other words, 
in complete harmony. 

As creation arises, creatures manifest suc- 
cessively and independently of one another. 
They thus come into time and space, as distinct 
from eternity. Eternity is not simply endless 
duration, but rather simultaneity, rhythmic 
circularity, instead of linear movement. To 
express it symbolically, time may be designated 
by a straight line and eternity by a circle. 

Although the creation of spirits in freedom 
brings about a multitude of relative centres, 
in a sense independent of God, this does not 
necessarily imply disorder or antagonism. All, 
until self-love made its appearance, were " in 
temperature," or harmony, like the various 
3 



34 JACOB BOEHME 

colours and forms in a garden of flowers, where 
each enhances the beauty of the whole, thus 
forming pleasing contrasts without producing 
violent antagonisms. One quality may pre- 
dominate in some, another in others ; still, 
this does not mar the beauty of the whole. 
It simply heightens the general effect through 
their dissimilarity. 

Creation unfolds through endless circles. 
Outside the circle of the uncreated heaven is 
the created heaven, or angelic world, consisting 
of three hierarchies, at the head of which were 
placed three Hierarchs — Michael, Uriel, and one 
whose name is not given by Boehme, but who 
became Lucifer after his fall. Michael repre- 
sented the Father, the Hierarch afterwards 
called Lucifer the Son, and Uriel the Holy 
Spirit. They were formed out of both the light 
and the dark principles, the latter forming a 
base or ground for the former. 

Boehme states that the angels inhabiting 
this heaven are very bright and beautiful, and 
of various hues. They are not hampered by 
time and space like we are. With them all 
things are within, not outside, one another. 



CHAPTER VIII 

FALL OF LUCIFER 

We now reach a point in Boehme's philosophy 
which touches on the dark principle in God. 
This brings us face to face with that riddle of 
the universe, the origin of evil. Although the 
dark or fiery principle exists in the Supreme, 
it is ever overcome by the light principle. It 
never becomes active, but remains in a latent 
or passive condition, being simply a tendency 
which allows itself to be vanquished by the 
light. There is no such thing as evil or dis- 
order in the Supreme. All is perfectly balanced 
and harmonious. 

When, however, the Supreme creates inde- 
pendent intelligent spirits and endues them 
with a certain freedom of choice, in other 
words individualises them, the possibility of 
evil or disorder arises. Possessing the power 
to choose either the nature-centre, egoism, 
with its contractive self-love, as exemplified 
by the magnetic astringency of the first quality 

35 



36 JACOB BOEHME 

of the dark ternary, which contracts and hardens 
everything, or the light-centre, Love, with its 
ever-expanding powers, every spirit having 
these two contrasting principles within him- 
self, they are liable to temptation, until they 
fix themselves in one or the other. Should 
they desire that which is false, choosing to be 
self-centred instead of God-centred, evil or 
disorder makes its appearance, the harmonious 
flow of the divine life being checked, and finally 
pushed back through meeting a counter- 
current proceeding from self-will. Obscuration 
takes the place of light. 

A selfish desire, or what Boehme terms "a 
false imagination," having become kindled, it 
continually increases in intensity, ever burning 
more fiercely, causing a confusion that Boehme 
speaks of as " turba." The wheel of birth 
thus becomes literally a wheel of anguish. 
Instead of the divine light soothing the oppos- 
ing forces, it stirs them up till the anguish 
becomes persistent and existence a struggle 
and anxiety. 

What are called the devil and hell thus make 
their appearance when the negative or dark 
ternary, in separation from the light ternary, 
becomes manifest in intelligent creation, instead 
of remaining in concealment or latency. The 



FALL OF LUCIFER 37 

potentiality of evil is necessary to constitute 
a ground upon which character may be formed. 
We must partake of the tree of knowledge of 
good and evil to gain experience. 

Evil, as an actuality, first made its appear- 
ance, according to Boehme, when the Hierarch, 
afterwards called Lucifer, who was the head of 
our universe — whose body it really was — 
opened his self-centre, or centrum naturae, 
instead of keeping it closed, and so lapsed from 
the Divine order. This self-centre, or centrum 
naturae, is the foundation upon which hell 
rests. " The wrath of God," writes Boehme, 
" has existed from all eternity, though not as 
wrath, but as fire latent in a tree or stone until 
it is aroused." In the Supreme wrath and love 
harmonise, severity and mercy balance each 
other. 

While the Hierarchs Michael and Uriel 
remained true to God as their centre, the 
Hierarch, afterwards called Lucifer, who knew 
the Will of God and the misery that would 
ensue from his departure therefrom, moved by 
a lust of knowledge for its own sake, which 
begat pride, chose the centrum naturae. He 
set his will in opposition to the Divine Will. 
He moved not as God moved in him. Lucifer's 
fall, according to Boehme, was caused by pride, 



38 JACOB BOEHME 

which led him to despise " the meekness and 
lowliness in which consisteth the Kingdom of 
Heaven and the virtue of the Heart of God. 
He saw the greatest hidden mysteries of the 
Deity stand in such humility that he took 
offence at it, and entered into the fierce might 
of the fire, and would domineer with his own 
self, wit and reason over the Heart of God ; 
he would that God should be in subjection 
under him. He would be a framer and creator 
in nature, and therefore he became a devil." 
Unbalanced curiosity and a desire for something 
new, possibly even higher than God Himself, 
entered his mind. He refused to sacrifice the 
fire principle, or egoism, to the light principle, 
or love. The dark principle within him 
sought to manifest itself. He opened his 
centrum naturae and fell. He became self- 
centred, instead of God-centred. 

The foundation of hell, hidden from all 
eternity, now became manifest. Lucifer had 
aroused the principle of the wrath of God. 
The dark ternary had dominion over him. 

Lucifer's action started another centre of 
operative force, at variance with the primordial 
centre, or will. The whole gear of nature 
became loosened, and a new world arose, in 
which the dual principles were separated, one 



FALL OF LUCIFER 39 

ever being in excess of the other. The Divine 
Will retired to an inner ground and the crea- 
turely will worked its downward way. From 
out of the world of one element arose the world 
of four elements, ever in conflict with each 
other. An appalling " turba," or confusion, 
ensued. 

Concerning this, the ancient hermetists 
taught that " to reattain the Prima Materia, 
one must reconcile extremes. " Fire and water, 
air and earth, must be brought into unity 
again by harmonious reconstruction. The 
Prima Materia is the element of immortality 
—perfect, plastic, moulded by the will for 
creative purposes, without the necessity of 
painful toil or extreme agony. 



CHAPTER IX 

adam's fall 

Our earth, according to Boehme, was situated 
spiritually rather than geographically within 
the sphere of Lucifer. His dominion may be 
expressed as the sidereal universe of which 
our earth is a part. The six qualities were 
generating the seventh, through which they 
might manifest in a sweet and orderly manner, 
nature then being very ethereal and exalted, 
instead of dense and gross as we know it. 
Lucifer's fall, however, created an evil sphere 
by separating the Love and Wrath, in other 
words the mercy and severity of God, thus 
upsetting the equilibrium of nature, and so 
causing a state of general disorder and strife. 
As a result, nature became very gross and 
unable to work harmoniously. Still, the 
forces of light gradually gained on those of 
darkness, until at length the balance of 
things was sufficiently restored to culminate 
in man. 

40 



ADAM'S FALL 41 

Man, in the true sense of the word, is not 
simply an intellectual animal, but a composite 
being containing the elements of all things. 
He possesses faculties that bring him in touch 
with everything on all planes of existence, and 
enable him not only to apprehend spiritual, 
astral, and physical, but also divine things. 
His capacity is limitless, there being nothing 
beyond his reach. These hidden or latent 
powers are unknown to, or at least ignored by, 
many of our modern scientists. The man 
they discuss is an incomplete and rudi- 
mentary being, little else than an intellectual 
animal, leading a more or less aimless exist- 
ence, subject to, instead of lord and master of, 
nature. 

Boehme asserts that Adam, who symbolises 
our earliest and spiritual ancestors, when the 
race was ethereal, not gross as it now is, was 
a luminous being, permeated by his spiritual 
or, rather, celestial essence. His body was 
not dense like ours, but ethereal in its nature. 
The inner man kept the external man imprisoned 
within itself, and penetrated it in a manner 
comparable to iron, which glows if it is pene- 
trated by fire, so that it seems as if it were 
fire. When, however, the fire becomes extinct, 
the dark iron becomes manifest. 



42 JACOB BOEHME 

Boehme describes the state of Adam before 
his fall — that is, before he became immersed 
in matter, and so merely natural — in the 
following words : " The mind of Adam was 
innocent, like that of a child playing with the 
wonders of its Father. There was in him no 
knowledge of evil will, no avarice, rjride, envy, 
anger, but a pure enjoyment of love. . . . The 
inner man stood in heaven ... he knew the 
language of God and the angels, and the 
language of nature . . . giving names to 
all creatures, to each according to its own 
essence and quality. . . . Fire, air, water 
and earth could not tame him ; no fire 
burned him ; no water drowned him ; no air 
suffocated him ; all that lived stood in awe of 
him." 

In his unfallen state Adam consisted of the 
three principles — spirit, soul and body. His 
spirit belonged to the light principle, his soul 
to the dark, or fire, principle, and his body to 
the world of sense formed through the union of 
the first two, or the light and the dark, principles. 
These three principles were " in temperature " 
— that is, in perfect harmony — the two latter 
being subordinate to the first, or the light, 
principle. He understood alike divine, human, 
and natural things. 



ADAM'S FALL 43 

In order that Adam might become truly 
virtuous it was needful for him to experience 
temptation, for, apart from the possibility of 
vice, there can be no such thing as virtue. 
It was a sore conflict. Each of the opposing 
principles struggled for the mastery. Adam 
allowed himself to be tempted by Lucifer into 
a false lust, and set his desire and imagination 
upon the world. Curiosity prompted him to 
try to ascertain what it would be like to be 
" out of temperature," how the opposite 
qualities, the hard and the soft, the bitter and 
the sweet, would taste apart from each other. 
He gave way to the temptation and fell, where- 
upon the Divine Image grew pale instead of 
heavenly in his nature, and he became earthly, 
the whole of nature on this earth being involved 
in his fall. The two primary principles being 
" out of temperature," or balance, brought 
about a state of disorder, both individually 
and collectively. Man's work is to reconcile 
these opposing qualities, or principles, in him- 
self, and thus pass permanently into the light 
principle, which is Divine, transmuting wrath 
into mercy, law into love. 

Adam's fall, however, was not like that of 
Lucifer. Lucifer placed himself in direct 
opposition to God ; Adam only in indirect. 



44 JACOB BOEHME 

He had no wish to oppose God — all he desired 
was earthly enjoyments, but in order to 
secure them he was compelled to yield to 
Lucifer and so disobey God. 



CHAPTER X 

ADAM-EVE 

Boehme states that Adam, or more correctly 
Adam-Eve, was originally a dual-unity. In 
the Mysterium Magnum he writes : " Adam 
was a man and also a woman, and yet neither 
of them distinct, but a virgin full of chastity, 
modesty, and purity, namely the image of 
God." When Adam's imagination became set 
on this world, Eve, or the feminine part of his 
nature, not only consenting but prompting, 
seeing that with the lower animals the male 
and female organisms were separate, he was 
seized with an earthly desire to propagate like 
them. To save Adam from a still greater 
calamity, the Lord caused a deep sleep to fall 
upon him. " He fell asleep to the angelical 
world, and awakened to the external world " ; 
in other words, he became involved in matter. 
When Adam awoke from his sleep — that is, 
when he realised his merely natural condition 
— his consciousness being on a lower or more 

45 



46 JACOB BOEHME 

external plane, the woman, or feminine part 
of his complete nature, stood before him, his 
wife Eve. He had ceased to be a spiritual 
dual-unity. 

The dual-unity of the complete man (homo) 
having been dissolved, there were henceforth 
two distinct sexes — man (vir) and woman 
(mulier). Setting their imagination upon each 
other, they ate of the fruit of the forbidden 
tree, the tree of knowledge of good and evil, 
and became subject to physical death. They 
were no longer able to remain in paradise, 
either internally or externally, being unable to 
comprehend anything outside the sidereal 
universe, of which they now formed a part. 
Becoming more and more earthly in their nature 
they begat children in the merely natural 
way, like the animal creation, and were subject 
to the ills and troubles of the world in which, 
by their own act, they had placed themselves. 
The Virgin Sophia receded, retiring to a more 
interior region of their nature, from which to 
watch over and guard them. 

Boehme tells us that, in consequence of the 
fall, both of Lucifer and Adam, man has become 
subject to corruption, though he yearns to 
be redeemed. Nature has also become gross 
through the dissolution of " temperature." 



ADAM-EVE 47 

The four elements— fire, water, air and earth — 
which, prior to the fall, were really one com- 
posite element, and which then appeared in 
harmonious contrasts, now stand in mutual 
antagonism. Although sustained by the power- 
ful bond of natural law to which God has 
subjected them, they yet fight in an empty 
and resultless manner. The effect of their 
struggles is seen throughout the planet. Vio- 
lent storms and destructive earthquakes alter- 
nate with dead calms and murky fogs. The 
earth brings forth the noxious weed and poison- 
ous berry, as well as the beautiful flower and 
delicious fruit ; the cruel reptile and savage 
beast, as well as the noble and gentle animal. 
Curse, decay, corruption, and death struggle 
with blessing, health, and life. The nature 
spirit has fashioned out of the kingdom of 
phantasy strange creatures who do naught 
but torment and vex other creatures who exist 
side by side with them, and whose sole end is 
to serve and be of use. The wrath, as well as 
the love of God, is manifested throughout 
nature. 

The same thing repeats itself in man, the 
head of creation, as exemplified in the history 
of the race. He has sunk through sin or self- 
will, more or less to the animal plane of exist- 



48 JACOB BOEHME 

ence, so that the animal world projects itself 
into the human. Man, on this earth, has 
acquired a tendency to the bestial, and presents 
a glaring contrast to his original dignity. 
Every man has, so to speak, an animal in his 
life. Hence we find wolfish men, foxy men, 
apish men, leonine men, and so on. Men's 
dispositions correspond, very largely, with 
those of the animals. Man has to extirpate 
these instincts so that he may become wholly 
human, and thus again in the image of God. 
When man is restored to the Divine Image 
time will end, consequently the essential 
import of history is the redemption of humanity. 
Although in idea man precedes the rest of 
creation, in manifestation he comes last. He 
was to be the mediator between heaven and 
earth, spirit and matter, and the crown of all 
things. Had Adam, who was to have filled 
the void caused by the fallen Hierarch, remained 
obedient to the Highest, nature would ulti- 
mately have been restored to order, and 
rescued from the state of " turba " or confusion 
into which it had fallen through the action of 
Lucifer. Adam was a kind of pivot, or gate, 
through whom the Supreme might operate for 
the redemption of the fallen angels. Adam's 
fall, however, necessitated the Incarnation. 



ADAM-EVE 49 

Christ, as the second Adam, re-establishes man 
in his primal dignity as Lord of Creation. 
From this will follow the final redemption, not 
only of man, but also of the lower creation, thus 
ultimately restoring all things to their original 
order. 



CHAPTER XI 

ATONEMENT AND REDEMPTION 

Boehme was a firm believer in the historical 
Christ. He writes, " We Christians believe 
. . . that He (Jesus) was conceived by the 
Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin without any 
blemishing of her virgin chastity. Through 
the incarnation of God in Jesus there arose a 
Divine Human Being of the essence of both 
God and Mary. He was conceived of His 
mother without sin. Through her very con- 
ception Mary first attained perfect virginity, 
the Virgin Sophia thereby penetrating her 
essence. As son of man Christ's soul became 
absolutely pervaded by the Eternal Word and 
the Heavenly Virgin. Christ is thus not only 
Son of the Virgin Mary, but also of the Heavenly 
Virgin, who united Herself with Mary. The 
Virgin Sophia, Who departed from Adam when 
he fell, re-entered Christ, the second Adam, 
through Whom She is restored to us." 

Christ's work, according to Boehme, is to 

50 



ATONEMENT AND REDEMPTION 51 

restore man to " temperature," or harmony. 
As the archetypal man, expressive of our 
Heavenly Father-Mother, the Christ united, 
in His Own Person, the highest excellences of 
the masculine with the best attributes of the 
feminine character, combining the forcefulness 
of man with the tenderness of woman. 

The whole of the work of Christ Jesus pivots 
on the Atonement and the Redemption. He 
came to heal all things, and re-establish 
" temperature." The light principle, the 
dark principle, and the principle of this 
world were all present in Jesus, as in Adam. 
Whereas Adam, when tempted, allowed the 
principle of this world to prevail, Christ 
Jesus fixed His imagination wholly upon the 
Father and the Kingdom of Light, thereby 
subjecting the lower principle, and re-estab- 
lishing " temperature," or order, in His Own 
Person. He quenched " wrath " by His volun- 
tary self-devotion. He surrendered Himeelf 
unto death so that He might vanquish it from 
within. He brought body, soul, and spirit 
into perfect harmony by sacrificing everything 
in His death and passion. 

When He arose from the dead it was in a 
paradisiacal body, which absorbed His earthly 
body. He finally ascended to heaven — that is, 



52 JACOB BOEHME 

His paradisiacal body became invisible. Heaven 
is not a distinct locality, but a sphere existing 
side by side with and interpenetrating the 
physical universe, though veiled from normal 
sight. 

In order to pass out of the " turba," in which 
we have become immersed, and regain " tem- 
perature," we must be regenerated by the Holy 
Spirit. A merely historical faith, Boehme 
reiterates again and again, will never save any 
man. Wrapping ourselves round externally 
with the robe of Christ's righteousness is worse 
than useless, if inwardly we remain wild beasts. 
We must forsake the dark fire, or devilish 
principle, and the principle of this world, with 
its lusts and appetites, and enter into the light 
principle, lost through Adam's fall, but regained 
by Christ. 

Boehme contends throughout his writings 
that it is only as man gives up his own self-will 
and immerses himself unconditionally in the 
Will of God that he can attain salvation 
and understand Divine Wisdom. He con- 
stantly urges his readers to seek only the Heart 
of Jesus Christ, and so to come into full har- 
mony with the Divine Will, and thus into 
conscious union with and knowledge of the 
Supreme. Our Heavenly Father, Boehme 



ATONEMENT AND REDEMPTION 53 

asserts, is quite close to us, His children, but 
our eyes are holden that we should not see 
Him. Our merely natural sight constitutes a 
veil which hides Him. 

The qualification needed to fit one for 
membership in our Heavenly Father's Kingdom 
is to become a little child, not a superman. 
The true superman is the outcome of the 
Christ child within. Entrance into the King- 
dom is only to be obtained through birth, not 
in any other way. 

Christ, Boehme asserts, " tinctures " our will 
in order to lead it to something higher. Faith 
must be a vitalising, sanctifying power. There 
must exist between Christ and the believer a 
mystical bond of union, which is to grow and 
increase as life develops. 

Boehme's leading idea is life, prayer being 
the means whereby the soul soars up above the 
centrum naturae, the abyss of hell, and the 
spirit of this world, and penetrates into the 
light, into the Heart of God. In true prayer 
will and desire are one. 

When a man dies, Boehme maintains, his 
state becomes fixed for good or ill, that after 
death the will cannot be changed. Whatever 
quality was strongest in the soul during 
life becomes continually stronger, so that the 



54 JACOB BOEHME 

evil eventually surrender themselves to the 
devil, while the good enter heaven. Even on 
earth all stand in heaven and hell, although 
they may not know it, so that when the body 
perishes the holy soul is already in heaven and 
the wicked in hell. In answer to the question : 
Where does the soul go after death ? Boehme in 
The Swpersensual Life writes : "It has no need 
to go ; it has heaven and hell within itself. 
The Kingdom of God is within you. . . . 
Heaven and hell are within one another, and 
are to one another as a nothing." Those souls 
who are in a sort of half-regenerate condition, 
including even those who have but the slightest 
spark of goodness, if they but cling to it after 
leaving the body, ultimately reach heaven, 
but only after much suffering, while those who 
have never heard of Christ are saved if they 
stand in the light principle. 

We must not infer from this that Boehme 
taught the eternity of hell, because only that 
which has arisen in the " eternal fixity " 
is eternal in its nature. Evil, having arisen 
in time, will disintegrate and perish when time 
is swallowed up in eternity. 

According to Boehme, creation was the act of 
the Father, the Incarnation that of the Son, 
while the end of the world will be brought about 



ATONEMENT AND REDEMPTION 55 

by the operation of the Holy Ghost. The 
earth will then be restored to " temperature," 
or harmony. Man will again be in the Image 
of God, and the present separate distinction of 
sex will disappear, all being dual- unities, as 
was Adam-Eve before the fall. 



CHAPTER XII 

CONCLUSION 

Boehme was neither a Theist nor a Pantheist 
exclusively, but a combination of both. He 
realised that the Supreme was both immanent 
and transcendent. His God is not merely 
a speculative impersonal abstraction, neither is 
He a limited personality in any sense. In his 
quaint style he writes, " The external world 
is not God ... it is merely a state of existence 
wherein God is manifesting Himself." Else- 
where, " Thou must not think that God, Who 
is in heaven and above heaven, doth there 
stand and hover, like a power and quality which 
hath in it neither reason nor knowledge. . . . 
No ! the Father is not so, but He is an all-mighty, 
all-wise, all-knowing, all-seeing, all-hearing, 
all-smelling, all-feeling, all- tasting God, Who 
in Himself is meek, friendly, gracious, merciful, 
and full of joy ; yea, joy itself." 

Boehme was the first of the great Protestant 
mystics, remaining throughout his life a humble 

56 



CONCLUSION 57 

member of the Lutheran Church. While 
many of the other mystics, such as Eckart and 
Swedenborg, were highly educated, he was an 
illiterate man, experiencing the greatest diffi- 
culty in finding suitable words to express his 
thoughts. Words to him were . symbols 
expressive of ideas in their inmost sense. 
In this poor shoemaker we have the remarkable 
spectacle of an uneducated man conversant 
with some of the deepest mysteries of the uni- 
verse. Although his philosophical and reli- 
gious system was more or less coloured by his 
mental outlook, as is the case with all seers, 
being affeoted by the current theology and 
theosophy of the period during which he lived, 
still there are hidden riches in his writings which 
are practically inexhaustible, and which will 
more than repay anyone the trouble of unearth- 
ing them. 

In the main essentials Boehme's philosophy 
is largely in keeping with the ancient hermetic 
doctrine. The Will and Wisdom of which he 
speaks correspond to Abba and Aima of the 
Kabalah, while his seven qualities of Eternal 
nature show that he was conversant with the 
septenary constitution of all things, as known 
to occult science. His assertion that our first 
ancestors, whom he calls Adam-Eve, were 



58 JACOB BOEHME 

twain-one and ethereal in their natures, is in 
agreement with that of the hermetic schools 
of antiquity. They taught that our remote 
ancestors of the old Golden Age were ethereal 
dual-unities before the fall into matter took 
place. Boehme tells us that the Father and 
Mother beget the Son, in Whom their energies 
are gathered up to be again diffused by the 
Holy Spirit. This is identical with the belief 
of the ancient Egyptians, who worshipped 
Osiris the Father, Isis the Mother, and Horus 
the Issue, together with a fourth Deity called 
the Holy Ghost, which overshadowed the whole. 

" Whate'er the Eastern Magi sought, 
Or Orpheus sung, or Hermes taught ; 
Whate'er Confucius would inspire, 
Or Zoroaster's mystic fire ; 
The symbols that Pythagoras drew, 
The wisdom godlike Plato knew ; 
What Socrates debating proved, 
Or Epictetus lived and loved ; 
The sacred fire of saint and sago, 
Through every clime, in evory age, 
In Boehme's wondrous page we view, 
Discover' d and revealed anew." 

Boehme was devoutly Christian to his inmost 
core. He was intensely spiritual, his spirituality 
being even deeper than his philosophy was 
profound, as the following extracts from his 
writings will show. 



CONCLUSION 59 

" Many a man goeth to church twenty or 
thirty years, heareth sermons, receiveth the 
Sacraments, and heareth absolution read or 
declared, and yet is as much a beast of the 
devil and vanity at the last as at the first. 
A beast goeth into the church and to the 
Supper, and a beast cometh out from thence 
again. 

" The Sacraments do not take away sin ; 
neither are sins forgiven thereby. But it is 
thus : When Christ ariseth then Adam dieth 
in the essence of the serpent ; as when the sun 
riseth the night is swallowed up in the day, and 
the night is no more. Just so are sins forgiven. 

"A true Christian, who is born anew of the 
spirit of Christ, is in the simplicity of Christ, 
and hath no strife or contention with any man 
about religion. He hath strife enough in 
himself, with his own bestial evil flesh and 
blood. He continually thinketh himself a 
great sinner, and is afraid of God : But the love 
of Christ by degrees pierceth through, and 
expelleth that fear, as the day swalloweth up 
the night. 

"It is the greatest folly that is in Babel for 
people to strive about religion, as the devil 
hath made the world to do so ; so that they 
contend vehemently about opinions of their 



60 JACOB BOEHME 

own forging, viz. about the letter ; when the 
Kingdom of God consisteth in no opinion, but 
in power and love. 

" Where will you seek for God ? Seek him 
in your soul that is proceeded out of the eternal 
nature, the living fountain of forces wherein 
the divine working stands. 

" If man's eyes were but opened he should 
see God everywhere in His heaven ; for heaven 
stands in the innermost moving everywhere. 
Moreover, when Stephen saw the heaven 
opened and the Lord Jesus at the right hand of 
God, then his spirit did not first swing itself 
aloft into the upper heaven, but it penetrated 
into the innermost moving wherein heaven is 
everywhere. 

" That moving the outward man neither 
knows nor comprehends, neither doth the 
astral comprehend it ; but every fountain 
spirit comprehends its innate source, which 
resembles the heaven. 

" The disciple said to his Master, ' Sir, how 
may I come to the Supersensual life, so that I 
may see God and hear God speak ? ' The 
Master answered and said, ' Son, when thou 
canst throw thyself into That, where no 
creature dwelleth, though it be but for a moment, 
then thou nearest what God speaketh.' " 



CONCLUSION 61 

Gichtel, writing in 1698, says : "I have 
searched through many mystics in my time, 
but found in none of these what ... I have 
found in this enlightened shoemaker. ... If 
there is in Scripture anything obscure, magical 
or mystical, Boehme solves it all." 

Paxton Hood, in his essay on Boehme, the 
Evangelical Hegel, sums up his peculiar value 
as follows : "To those who would know how 
much is to be said to the reason and under- 
standing to strengthen and confirm the faith 
and keep the frail spirit of the thoughtful man 
from reeling from its steadfastness or plunging 
into an ocean or night of despair, the works 
of Boehme are full to overflowing of light and 
strength." 

In his Appreciation of Jacob Boehme, Dr. 
Alexander Whyte remarks, " The Way to 
Christ is a production of the very greatest 
depth and strength, but it is the depth and 
strength of the heart and the conscience, 
rather than the depth and strength of the 
understanding and imagination. . . . There 
is all the reality, inwardness and spirituality 
of The Imitation in it, together with a sweep 
of imagination, and a grasp of understanding, 
as well as both a sweetness and a bitterness 
of heart that even A. Kempis never comes 



62 JACOB BOEHME 

near." Elsewhere he writes, " Not Augustine, 
not Luther, not Bunyan, not Baxter, not 
Shepherd has ever written anything of more 
evangelical depth and strength and passion and 
pathos." 

Many dislike Boehme because, with uncon- 
ventional thoroughness, he lays bare the root 
of all evil — self-love. This is not to say that if 
anyone kills self-love within himself he will 
be necessarily drawn to Boehme's writings, 
for the writing is so obscure, and the ideas are 
conveyed in language so unusual and, in many 
ways, so opposed apparently to the religious 
thought of the ordinary man or woman, that, 
at first sight, they naturally repel ; besides 
which the keenest intellects are far from being 
the best equipped for a study of Boehme's 
works. Those, however, who desire truth 
before all else will find much in them that is 
helpful. 

There is one lesson, a most essential lesson, 
we can all learn from Jacob Boehme — humility. 
His wonderful humble-mindedness, his child- 
like attitude of mind, was the root cause of his 
profound knowledge. We speak of loving all, 
but unless our love is firmly rooted in humility 
it will be dissipated by the first spasm of self- 
will. 



CONCLUSION 63 

When St. Augustine was asked which was 
the first great Christian virtue he replied, 
" Humility." When asked which was the 
second he replied, " Humility " ; and which 
the third, he again replied, " Humility." 
Humility is the foundation virtue, because it 
is the antithesis of pride, which is the root 
cause of all evil. 

Boehme sought the heart of Christ before 
all things, hence he became a mouthpiece of 
the Highest to all who are willing to receive his 
message, and to such he is ever an instrument 
to reveal " the deep things of God." 



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